The next several articles will be on my recent trip to America’s capital, Washington, D.C. Of course, I must begin with one of my favorite parts of the city, you guessed it, the Metro. The dark tunnels illuminated mainly by the lights embedded in the platforms seduce me more and more each time I visit.
The Metro was created by the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (Metro) in 1967. The first phase of opertaion began in 1976. And according to the Metro website, “Today, Metrorail serves 86 stations and has 106 miles of track. Metrobus serves the nation’s capital 24 hours a day, seven days a week with 1,500 buses.” The Metro services the Washington, DC metropolitan area along with neighboring counties in Maryland and Virginia. While the history and growth of the Metro is fascinating, I craved more information on the design of this transit system.
Architect, Harry Weese, was charged in 1967 with the design of the 100-mile metro system. He was applauded for the iconic vaulted coffered concrete ceilings which are uninterrupted by columns. In his article about the designer, Herbert Muschamp mentions that the stations evokes the feeling of a church narthex and perhaps this religious connection is why these stations have such a profound impact on people. (Click here to view the New York Times article) The design of the Metro system is just a small part of the impact Weese’s architecture has had on the world. He was known for his contribution to 20th century modern architecture and historic preservation. Other buildings designed by Weese prior to his death in 1998 include the Arena Stage in Washington, D.C. and the Time Life Building in Chicago, IL.
Visiting DC ? Go to the Washington Metropolitan Transit Authority website for more information on the Metro.